New innovation in digital standards to improve child health information

An innovative way to share important information about a child’s health has been launched today and will support the prevention of childhood illness, improve health and wellbeing and involve parents more closely in their children’s care and development.

The information standards will make it possible for children to receive appropriate care by setting out what information on screening tests, immunisations and developmental milestones should be accessible to health and social care professionals, and parents/guardians for their treatment and care.

It also means that everyone involved in a child’s care, including parents, will have access in the future to a standardised set of paperless, digital child health records. Standardised records will save time for health and care professionals and parents by ensuring they have the necessary information to make the right decisions for safer care.

The standards have been developed in consultation with parents and health and care professionals, and support The Department of Health’s Healthy Child Programme.

The Professional Record Standards Body have published a report on the standard, as part of a programme of work by NHS England and NHS Digital to improve the health of children by using digital technology that promotes better information sharing. The programme aims to deliver the goals of the Healthy Child programme by transforming secure information sharing between professionals and parents, which will enable more personalised care.

Speaking about the standard, newly appointed PRSB chair and GP, Professor Maureen Baker CBE, said: “Every child has the right to a healthy life and I am convinced that this new way of sharing standardised information digitally will support this goal by enabling safer and more efficient care, as well as better support for children and their families.”

Dr Andy Spencer, who was the clinical lead on the project on behalf of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “It is important that we empower parents to get involved in their child’s health and development. When these new standards are implemented, parents will have the same access to their child’s personal health record as health and care professionals, and they will always know who the records are being shared with and why.”

Dr David Low, Consultant Paediatrician and adviser to the Digital Child Health programme, said: “Creating these standards for digital exchange of health information is a significant step towards achieving the goals of the Healthy Child Programme.

“It is a great example of collaborative working as parents, carers and health professionals have all been involved in creating this information standard and we will all benefit from the changes it brings. It will save time for health professionals by cutting back on paperwork and giving them access to a standardised set of health information.

“Both health professionals and parents will have greater assurance that a child has received all the preventative care needed to ensure the best start in life.”